Since “A Bloody Business”, the industry has frequently referred to needing a 'social licence' for live export ie a requirement that the public be assured that animal welfare standards are in place and being policed. ESCAS and all manner of other window-dressing exercises were deemed to be part of this self-defined and self-promoted licence.
But….roll on… Barnaby Joyce and the farmers are firmly back in charge of animal ‘welfare’. There is obviously far too much “social licence” and as it might cost the farmer a dollar, it is now red tape. Unfortunately, progress in animal welfare has ceased and the pressure is for more on roll-backs of welfare provisions in all aspects of farming, not just live export. What the farmers want, the farmers get. Subsidies, special tax regimes, repeated drought assistance in hopelessly marginal areas, altered definitions of “free range” for egg production…you name it, you got it. Barnaby just can't get enough of the love. The Nationals have total say in this area of policy and no Liberal leader is ever going to be able change this even if he or she gave a damn which they usually don't.
What is really depressing is that the media is so silent on this subject. No one it seems has the integrity, the analytical ability, the will or the courage to ever ask the right questions of Barnaby about any of the nonsense he spouts.